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Ask the Diva: Is Tuna in Pouches Better than Tuna in Cans?

Are the new vacuum-packed pouches of tuna any different than regular old canned tuna? Nutrition Diva has the answer.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Q. "What do you think of tuna or salmon in pouches? I like adding them to my salads as the protein. Compared to lunchmeat, it seems a lot less processed and it's much lower in sodium. Is it OK to eat this kind of fish 3-4 times a week?"

A. Whether fresh, canned, or in pouches, fish is a fantastic alternative to processed lunch meats. Not only is it lower in sodium and other additives, it's a good source of omega-3 fats and a great way to add protein to your lunch!  Compared to canned fish, the vacuum-sealed pouches also have a fresher flavor and texture. However, there is one potential concern with eating it 3-4 times a week.

Canned TunaTuna, especially white albacore, is relatively high in mercury. To avoid over-exposure to this potentially hazardous metal, adults should limit their consumption of white or albacore tuna to no more than one serving a week. Chunk light tuna, which is lower in mercury, can be safely enjoyed up to twice a week. Salmon, on the other hand, contains little to no mercury - and is also much higher in omega-3s. 

Because you like to have fish 3-4 times a week, I suggest selecting chunk light tuna  instead of white albacore (bonus: it's also cheaper!) and alternating that with salmon.

See also: Should You be Worried About Mercury in Fish?

Canned tuna image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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